Monday, 31 August 2009

The View From the Shoe: Stephie Tan

I met Stephie Tan on twitter when I was doing one of my sporadic searches for people who were tweeting about Haruki Murakami, and became intrigued by her blogs. Not only does she have an incredible eye for fashion. She also does a mean line in writing about noodles. In her own words:

My name is Stephie and I wear many hats. I run an online shop, Stephie's Shop, which focuses on quality basics for your wardrobe and quirky vintage items to jazz it up a little.
I write on a couple of websites daily:
Stephie Says (, which is a wonderland for me to share my inane thoughts on Singapore, where I live, as well as my travel anecdotes like my frequent shopping trips to Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.
Fashion Nation (, which I started with a friend to record our adventures about shopping in Singapore.
Apart from all that, I write articles on a freelance basis on shopping, travelling and retail. I also have a weekly fashion column running on a huge Singapore telecommunications web portal.
Oh, and I tweet a lot here: @stephietan (

Thank you so much for your time. So, Louboutin or Converse?

I'll go with Converse. I'm out daily to suss out the latest retail news in Singapore and abroad.
On top of that, I travel almost every month for work and I make sure to shop for gems to share with my readers on Stephie's Shop. So being comfortable is very important to me.

Why is there no one in the world who does it quite like you?

I think there are a lot of people out there who wants to do something they love, but they rank financial security much higher in their priority list.
For me, I threw caution to the winds and simply chased my desire to only spend time on what I love: writing and shopping.
I'm fortunate to be able to carve out a career in these aspects.

What do you really, really love about it?

I love that I have free reign in whatever that I do. This is something that I will not have if I were to work in a company.

A bit more time in the day, or a bit more money in the bank?

Definitely a bit more money in the bank. It helps that when I earn my money, every cent is earned from doing something that I am passionate about. Every dollar means more when you are happy while earning it.

Imagine you “make it”. You wake up, and imagine the day ahead. Tell us about breakfast.

I will have my breakfast at one of the local kopitiams in Singapore. This is basically a hawker-run stall with half-boiled eggs, toast and local coffee. I grew up with this and will not trade it for the world.
In a perfect world, after breakfast, I will continue to conquer the world by working on different projects, all to do with writing, fashion and the Internet.

What’s your Jimmy Choo? And what’s just cobblers?

I'm very particular about quality and comfort in a pair of shoes. I think you can find that in any label, luxury or high street, as long as you have an eye for detail.

Tell us about the last time a fan made you feel 100 feet tall.I don't have fans!

I'd say that the last time I felt really happy with my work was when I met Rei, a street style photographer whose work I love and whose personal style I adore. She reads my writing and now I can count her as a good friend.
This is what delights me about my work, that I can bridge physical distance and meet people I'd originially be able to only admire from afar.

Independent and poor, or under contract and rich?

I always believe that the harder you work, the luckier you get. So there's no need to choose between being independent or under a contract. If you love your work and you work hard, it will definitely pay off.

Do you remember that bit on Play Away where Brian Cant stood behind people and did the actions whilst they spoke? If you could choose anyone to stand behind you and do the actions to your sales pitch, who would it be and why?

I wouldn't choose anyone.
I think you need to be the best person to speak about your work. For example, there is a local designer in Singapore, her name is Jo Soh and she wears only items from her own label. That's a very loud action and statement to make about your work.
I think that's very important, to believe in your work. So I would choose myself to stand for my own work.

Frocks or socks?
Definitely frocks (: Being well dressed everyday make me so happy.

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